United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Policy

Policy Manual

Purpose/Background

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) requires students to pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) as part of the medical education curriculum. This policy establishes guidelines for the USMLE including policies and procedures to optimize success on the exams and to provide guidance in the event that a student fails to pass any of these exams.

Who Needs To Know This Policy?

Medical Students, Faculty and Staff

Policy

Students must be enrolled at UNR Med to be eligible to take any USMLE exam. Achieving a passing score on the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK and USMLE Step 2 is required for graduation. To be eligible for graduation, passing scores for Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS of the USMLE exams must be received by the UNR Med registrar's office no later than May 1st, of the year of graduation.

Failure of any Step of the USMLE will be noted on the student's Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) and will require that the student being placed on academic probation. As a condition of academic probation, the student will engage in remediation to improve his/her performance. As part of remediation, the student must either enroll in a preparation course with an external organization, or work directly with faculty at UNR Med. All students undergoing remediation for failure of a USMLE exam will be required to enroll in MED 601, Basic Science and Clinical Skills Foundations and will be required to meet regularly with and have his/her remediation supervised by the faculty of the Learning and Wellness Resource Center. At the discretion of the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, the student may be required to appear before the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee (SPCC) following his/her first failure of a USMLE exam. Appearance before the SPCC is required for a second and any subsequent failures. The student will remain on academic probation at least until a passing score has been achieved, however, the SPCC may impose a longer probationary period if needed.

Students are limited to three attempts to pass each part of the USMLE (Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS). If a student fails on the third attempt of the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK or Step 2 CS he/she will be dismissed from UNR Med. Additionally, upon receiving a fourth cumulative failing score on the combination of any of the USMLE exams (Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS), the student will be dismissed from UNR Med. Students must obtain approval from the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs prior to scheduling a third attempt at any USMLE exam.

The SPCC will set a deadline for any retakes of the USMLE. Students may request an extension of this deadline, however any extension must be approved by the SPCC.

All dismissal actions will be pursuant to the UNR Med Student Discipline and Dismissal Process policy.

USMLE Step 1

Students are required to pass the USMLE Step 1 prior to beginning the clinical clerkship year of the medical education curriculum. The deadline for taking the exam each year will be determined and communicated by the Office of Medical Education. Student may only delay taking the USMLE Step 1 beyond the defined deadline if granted express permission by the SPCC.

The Office of Medical Education, in collaboration with the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs will establish minimum performance standards on the National Board of Medical Examiners Comprehensive Basic Science Exam (CBSE) exam to determine eligibility to take the USMLE Step 1. UNR Med shall administer the CBSE twice during the second year of the medical education program. The timing of CBSE administration and minimum performance standards will be communicated to the students at the beginning of their second year of medical school and based upon previous CBSE data as they relate to USMLE performance.

Failure of the USMLE Step 1 will result in a delayed start to the clinical clerkships and possibly a delay in graduation.

Students enrolled in a dual-degree program beginning after the second year of medical school must pass the USMLE Step 1 prior to starting any additional coursework toward the non-M.D. degree.

Students granted leaves of absence following the second year of medical school are subject to the same deadlines as those progressing directly to the third year unless specifically granted an extension by the SPCC.

UNR Med must receive a passing score on the USMLE Step 1 within one calendar year (12 months) of the date of a student's first attempt. Students who do not have a passing score reported to UNR Med within one calendar year of the first attempt will be subject to dismissal.

USMLE Step 2 CK and USMLE Step 2 CS

Students are required to take USMLE Step 2 CK and the USMLE Step 2 CS no later than December 15th of their final year of medical school.

Students are strongly encouraged to take the USMLE Step 2 CS only after completion of the third-year clinical clerkships.

Students who fail Step 2 CK or CS on their second attempt must withdraw from all clerkships/electives until after the third attempt has been made.

The six-year time limit from matriculation to graduation applies to all students during the process of taking the USMLE unless specifically addressed in another policy.

Responsibilities & Procedures

Notifications

The faculty of the UNR Med Learning and Wellness Resource Center, the Associate Deans for Admissions and Student Affairs and Medical Education as well as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the School of Medicine will be made aware of any USMLE failures. Clerkship schedule coordinator, and the directors of any affected clerkship will be notified for scheduling purposes. Additional faculty and staff impacted by this may be notified at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs.

The Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs will contact the student following the receipt of a failing score report from the USMLE to discuss remediation options, timing of the USMLE retake and the impact on clerkship schedules and graduation date.

The SPCC will communicate with students directly and through the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.

Revision History

Date/Revision No./Modification/Author(s)

  • 6/2014/1.0/New policy to unify USMLE policies/Timothy Baker
  • 3/2017/2.0/Addition of USMLE Step 1 eligibility criteria/Timothy Baker - MESC approval 3/23/17